Jennette In a Holding Pattern

Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.) defensive end James Jennette recently declared Maryland his No. 1 suitor, suggesting a commitment could be forthcoming following a College Park, Md., campus visit in late July. But evidently Jennette's situation has changed a bit since June.

Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.) defensive end James Jennette recently declared Maryland his No. 1 suitor, suggesting a commitment could be forthcoming following a College Park, Md., campus visit in late July. But evidently Jennette's situation has changed a bit since June.

"What happened was I talked to Coach [Darrell] Perkins from Maryland like a week-and-a-half ago, and he told me they had two defensive ends already committed and couldn't take me right now," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Jennette, who has delayed a Maryland trip until October or November. "He told me he still liked my game and was trying to find another spot for me. He was saying how [the Terps] still have room for an outside linebacker, but there's a couple other guys they're looking at. If those guys don't commit there, [Perkins] said there'd be room for me. So now I'm just waiting on that and seeing what happens."

In the meantime, though, Jennette wanted to make sure he had a place to continue his education. He said he verbally committed to Ball State soon after speaking to Perkins.

"Ball State is a good option for me, and when I visited there [in early June] I really liked it," Jennette said. "I like how it's a small-town feel and how I can concentrate on my work and football there. I'm not a big party person, and I'm big on relationships, so I think Ball State is a good fit. They play good football there too, and I think I'd fit in well."

At the same time, Jennette admitted if a larger offer came along he'd be willing to listen. Particularly if there's a spot open at Maryland.

"I like Maryland a lot; I've liked them since they offered me," Jennette said. "It's the dead period now, but I'd been talking to Coach Perkins every week. We have a good relationship. He's a good coach, he's cool to talk to and he knows what he's talking about. He tells me about the program, I let him know how I'm doing, and we just have had some good conversations.

"So from what he's told me, Maryland sounds like a great place. It's in the Big Ten, it's really good academics, and I like their defense a lot."

Jennette said UMD's 4-3 scheme is similar to the system he plays in at Hazelwood West. He also mentioned that he played outside linebacker his freshman and sophomore years, so he'd be willing to return to that role if the Terps will take him.

"I like how they drop their defensive ends and have them as rush outside linebackers, and that's almost the exact role I play now," Jennette said. "I really like how they like me a hybrid end/linebacker, and I think it would be a perfect fit."

Even after Jennette's most recent conversation with Perkins he still wanted to visit College Park. But he said a monetary situation precluded him from doing so.

"So now I'm thinking I'll most likely take an official visit there," Jennette said. "Either in October or November I want to get out to Maryland to see what it's like and if it would be a good fit. That's the only school I know I might take an official to right now."

Jennette said he's unsure why no other programs have offered him besides Maryland and Ball State. He insists his grades and SAT scores meet the NCAA Clearinghouse standards.

"I did get interest from Missouri after their camp, and Kansas State was interested too, but [the staffs] decided not to offer me for whatever reason," said Jennette, who has no other offseason visits scheduled. "The Missouri coaches just said they weren't going to offer, and Kansas State said they were going in a different direction.

"But I'm going to keep working hard and hopefully things will pick up later. But right now I'm committed to Ball State and we'll see if something happens with Maryland."

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